We have spoken to four successful women entrepreneurs about how they manage to keep it together while running their respective businesses. Cyrillia Deslandes runs the critically acclaimed Bistrot Bizerca with her husband, and Rachel Irvine owns Bedouin Nomadic Cuisine. There is Lebo Madiba, managing director of Public Relations firm PR Powerhouse, and Lesego Mashishi, founder and director of Limitless Occupational Therapy.
Here is their advice:
Handling conflict in the workplace
Unfortunately, conflict in the workplace is unavoidable and it’s important to address it as soon as you can before it escalates. Lebo Madiba knows a thing or two about communication, as Public Relations is what her business is all about.
She says, “Conflict usually stems from either personal issues or misunderstandings, and the best way to resolve this is to ensure that there are clear channels of communication, and to remove the emotional aspect if possible, as everyone is there for a common goal."
Lesego Mashishi feels that it is important to build relationships with your staff "as it helps one understand what motivates them, what their personal goals are as well as what they aspire to achieve”. Having an understanding of these things can lessen inner-office conflict as you are better equipped to steer the operations of the business in a manner that brings fulfillment and accomplishment to your staff as individuals.
For Cyrillia, the decision to close their restaurant on weekends was motivated by the fact that “being in the hospitality industry means that you have a different life, and may struggle to spend time with family, so we needed to make this decision in order to spend time with our kids.” It’s important to try to switch off whenever possible to dedicate some time to the other aspects of your life.
Balance is absolutely crucial in keeping your boat afloat. If you pile too much on one side the boat will sink. Balance keeps you calm, grounded and motivated, so essentially creating balance will help every aspect of your life.
For an entrepreneur the line between work and your personal life is very thin as it takes full commitment. However if you are able to create that balance at the start, your sense of balance can be maintained for years to come.
Taking care of crisis situations
Companies often come across crisis situations which require all hands on deck. How these crises are handled is what is important. “Take the drama out of it, figure out what’s wrong, fix it and move on”, says Rachel Irvine.
Rachel goes on to say, “take each crisis seriously, but with a sense of perspective, you can’t let a crisis define your business or your office culture.”
Being an entrepreneur is a juggling act, but history has proven that is not an impossible feat. Rachel says, “I stay focused on my goal. Being an employer, you have an obligation to the people you have given jobs to. This helps you lead, and create a stable environment in which they are able to do well.”
If there is ever a day where you feel like you are going to crack, take Irvine’s advice: “If it’s not life threatening, it is like a bus, another one will come tomorrow”, so all you have to do I handle the situation at hand and move on.
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